3rd Rail Press_The Island of My Life_Chapter 2 – Urban Renewal_17Feb2020


An Original Work of Nonfiction
By: David G. Yurth
Copyright All Rights Reserved
September 2011
Chapter Two – Urban Renewal
Unless you have been on another planet for the past few years, you have undoubtedly become aware of the increasingly catastrophic natural events occurring around the world. Natural events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, hurricanes, disease pandemics and global warming are things we think and talk about all the time.
Other, equally horrifying events also incessantly besiege our awareness – genocide in Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Rwanda, Nigeria, Botswana, Myanmar, and Sarajevo; piracy on the high seas; the persistence of the slave trade in Africa, South and Central America, and more than a dozen nations surrounding the Indian Ocean; indentured slavery for virtually all workers in China, India and most nations of the Third World; shooting wars in dozens of countries and increasingly violent acts of terrorism inflicted by one culture on another.
The cultural institutions our parents relied on to define the morality of their attitudes and the ethics of their behaviors can no longer be trusted – priests and other religious leaders who molest little children; government leaders who lie to us and work to unravel the fabric of the social compact we have worked for two hundred fifty years to weave; information and energy oligarchies that despoil the planet and exploit the poorest nations by force of arms; political corruption and the ruthless exploitation of those least able to defend themselves; students who murder each other at gunpoint; urban domination by drug lords and gangs; indiscriminate and unlawful invasion of our personal privacy by agencies of government; the continued coarsening of broadcast media programming, which is less informative, more exploitive and coarse than ever before.
Catastrophic Avalanche Effects
In science, we talk about such things in their physical and sociological aspects in terms of their ‘catastrophic avalanche effects.’ The seminal work in this area of science has been conducted by Per Bak and his colleagues at the Brookhaven National Laboratories in Long Island, New York. Dr. Bak, who is now Professor Emeritus at London University, has written a watershed book on the subject entitled “How Nature Works.” In this book, which is less than 200 pages in length, Bak describes how avalanche events define the way nature works in all its complexity. He employs the simplest of models, a pile of sand, to describe how it goes.
The Role of Criticality
Bak’s investigation of self-organizing system dynamics began as an attempt to model the self-organizing behaviors associated with catastrophic avalanche events. The definitive experiment he performed viewed this set of dynamics as embodied in a randomly organized pile of uniform grains of sand. As Bak and his team constructed each sand pile, they realized that there comes a time when the sand pile can no longer be considered just a stack of single, unrelated grains. As the mound of sand reaches the point of criticality [that point at which the quantum I/* threshold has been breached and the power laws become operative], the sand pile becomes a single, integrated, self-organizing system.
As soon as this happens, it is no longer possible to predict the magnitude, location or frequency of any single avalanche event within the system. As the experimental evidence accumulated over thousands of trials shows, even if we simultaneously know everything there is to know about every single grain of sand comprising the pile, the nature of open, complex and self-organizing systems is such that we cannot improve the consistency, accuracy or reliability of our predictions regarding its behaviors in any locale. In complex, open systems as they operate in Nature, there is no linear, 1-to-1 relationship between events occurring in the past and those which are anticipated in the future.
If we continue to add grains of sand beyond this point, eventually somewhere along the slope of the pile a catastrophic event will occur. In the language of complex systems, this event is referred to as an “avalanche.” We have all seen it before.
When we were kids, we used to play a game which capitalized on this phenomenon – after a pile of sand was built up to the point at which it was almost ready to collapse, we would shove a stick down into the apex of the mound. The objective of the game was to scoop away small sections of the mound until, at the very end, the removal of even a single grain would cause the stick to fall. The game was fun precisely because no one could predict which scoop of material would cause the stick to fall.[1]
We have all seen it before. At some point in time, an entire section of the sand pile will eventually collapse on its own if we continue to add material to the top.
More importantly, it is interesting to note what does not happen. As we continue to add grains of sand to the top of the pile, we do not observe another single grain sloughing off repeatedly as a consistent consequence. There is no one-to-one relationship at work in such a system. Trivial as this may seem, for the purposes of this discussion, this is a most important distinction. It is also important to observe that we cannot predict which grain of sand will trigger an avalanche, nor can we predict how catastrophic the avalanche will be when it occurs. We cannot predict where in the pile the avalanche will begin nor how far it will carry. This behavior is a hallmark of all complex, open, self-organizing systems.[2]
We can predict only what the power laws permit. The importance of this insight cannot be overstated. It means, among other things, that in spite of all the best technologies and instrumentation we will ever devise, we will never, under any circumstances, be able to reliably predict the magnitude, location or timing of any events which occur as part of the behavior of any complex, open SOC system[[3]]. This includes earthquakes[[4]], solar flares, stock market behaviors, mass extinctions, meteor strikes, weather, geologic events or the behaviors of human interactions such as the Internet. If our way of thinking about the world we live in is modified to comport with the way the cosmos really works, instead of the way the world is described by the Standard Physical Model and current religious dogma, our approach to exploring the mysteries of the cosmos will be altered in ways that are still largely unimaginable.
Complex, Self-organizing SOC Systems
For the purposes of this discussion, a complex, open, self-organizing system is defined as one which demonstrates the characteristics of the condition known as criticality. For purposes of illustration, at the grandest of scales, the Milky Way Galaxy [like all galaxies found in the cosmos] is a complex, open, self-organizing system[[5]].
Figure 1

Hubble/NASA example of Celestial Organization
The fact that this is universally acknowledged to be true presents some intriguing problems which cannot be accommodated by the Standard Model of physics currently in general use.
At a finer scale, the same is true of the solar system. In every sense, it demonstrates all the characteristics, attributes and behaviors associated with self-organizing systems.[[6]] So does our planet. Taken by itself as a single, comprehensive unit, the Earth and its sub-systems all demonstrate the attributes of self-organizing criticality at every scale, from the release of virtual photons produced by energetic interactions at the Zero Point to the Earth’s participation as a member of the solar system set[[7]]. All these systems operate, as Capra[[8]] has rigorously reported, in an integrated, indivisible aggregation of inextricably inter-related constituents which, in the final analysis, comprise a single overall autopoietic [self-organizing] system.[[9]]
Simple, Elegant Rules:
According to the experimental data developed by Bak et al, it is evident that open, complex, self-organizing systems simultaneously and universally demonstrate all five of the following attributes:
1. Punctuated Equilibrium: Criticality is defined as the point in SOC system evolution at which an observable event occurs. Between each event or “avalanche” there are relative periods of apparent stasis, which are punctuated from time to time by other “avalanches” of various magnitudes. These avalanches can be literal, as in the case of Bak’s sand pile [or the catastrophic rush of a field of snow down a slope], or they can take the form of mass extinctions, the rises and falls of the stock markets, the occurrence of solar flares, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes or floods, wars, the evolutionary cycles of the Internet, the evolution of languages, etc. The phenomenon of punctuated equilibrium is an intrinsic dynamic corresponding to the quantum functions which have been observed to operate at all scales in nature. In this view of SOC behaviors, the geological effects demonstrated by the Grand Canyon, for example, are the more certainly the products of a series of catastrophic avalanche events rather than the gradual grinding down of geological strata by hydro-dynamic erosion over millions of years. 2. Power Laws: The relationship between the magnitudes, frequencies and locale of individual avalanches can be expressed in terms of a simple exponential equation. There are no singular explanations for large events – the same forces which cause the Dow Jones Industrial Average to rise 5 points on one day also caused the crashes of 1929, 1987 and the Dot.com crash of 1999. Wherever we find that a logarithmic relationship exists between a series of catastrophic events, which can be plotted on a set of X-Y coordinates as straight line with a slope, we can be absolutely certain that the system which produced it is a self-organizing system. The logarithmic relationship which characterizes the power laws governing SOC processes is primary to the formation of matter, energy, Time and all the field forces which operate in the cosmos. All of Nature, at all scales, manifests uniform compliance with this rule. 3. Fractal Geometry: First expressed by Benoit Mandelbrot[[10]] of IBM, fractal geometry is a mathematical construct which illustrates that where a complex, open, self-organizing system exists anywhere in our space-time continuum, it is self-similar at all scales. Fractals are the naturally-occurring record of the evolution of all natural, open, complex, self-organizing systems of all kinds. Boundedness, the conceptual construct reflected by the self-similarity which characterizes fractal geometry, occurs as the result of the interaction of scalar components beginning at the primary scale and extending throughout the micro- and macrocosm. The formula which describes the fractal properties of SOC interactions is shown as
Z D Z2 + C ([11]), Formula 1
the nature, extent and dynamics of which are a subject of this discussion. By its nature, fractal geometry serves to organize discrete quanta of information into aggregations which are either bounded [as Z] or unbounded [as Z2 + C], in a way which preserves the primary data sets found at the Zero Point, throughout each quantum-defined scale of subsequent organization. The fractal formula suggests that SOC dynamics are self-referential, as shown by the function ‘D”, which connotes interaction rather than equivalence. This is the primary function identified by Kafatos/Nadeau which renders ‘background reality-as-it-is’ self-referential at all scales. This function is also the operative dynamic which drives the Implicate Order postulated by Bohm.
When a complex system evolves to a state of self-organizing criticality over any increment of time [Dt], the physical record of its evolutionary history can only be described in terms which are fractal. The shape of a riverine delta, the variegated slopes of a mountain range, the shape of a coral reef, and the corrugated features of the human brain are all three-dimensional physical records of the evolution of self-organizing systems manifest in fractal form. It is because fractal geometry constitutes the natural expression of the evolution of SOC systems that analysts have been able, for example, to develop applications which efficiently identify non-fractal patterns found in the natural landscape.
4. I/* Noise: In order for any observable event to occur within a self-organizing system, the interactions between individual components and field effects must exceed quantum-defined scalar “noise” [1/ƒ] thresholds. For an aggregation of components at any scale to become self-organizing, the number of components, their aggregate properties and the Y-Bias/Angularity effects they exert on each other, must combine to breach the minimal noise thresholds. Here is how it works.
A boulder does not move one micron [one millionth of a meter] until some outside force acts on it at some level which rises above the I/* resistance threshold. You can push on a large boulder all day long, until you drop to the ground from exhaustion, but until you exert sufficient pressure to exceed the minimum force necessary to overcome inertia, the boulder will never move. However, once you have pushed hard enough to exceed the 1/* threshold, it will certainly move. It always does. That is the law and it applies universally in the macrocosm.[12]
By definition, this set of interactive properties and dynamics demands that all such interactions must be accompanied by and combine to create a concomitant set of harmonic resonances, regardless of the scale at which they occur. [[13]]
5. Fibonacci relationships: The Fibonacci numbers have been known since ancient times. These are not random numbers but, rather, are members of the following sequence:
0 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 89 144 233 377 610 987 1597 2584 4181 etc.
This sequence is known as the Fibonacci Series, and is well known in mathematics. Each number is the sum of the previous two. The ratio of successive pairs tends to the so-called golden section (GS) = 1.618033989, whose reciprocal is 0.618033989, so that we have a resultant product mathematically defined as:
1/GS = 1 + GS Formula 2
The following diagram represents the range of values from N = 0 to N = 1000, including the F numbers 377, 610 and 987, rescaled by dividing the vertical values by N, to show the multiple harmonics of the ‘Golden Mean’ more clearly. These are shown by blue horizontal lines. The short blue lines mark the two golden section (GS) points in each segment. If the length of a long blue line is taken as 1, then the three segments have lengths GS2, GS3 and GS respectively. GS2 and a GS3 add to GS. In a vertically integrated view, the plot of these functions appears as follows:
Figure 2

The values represented by the resultant function are –
GS = 0.618033989
GS2 = 0.3819659
GS3 = 0.2360678
The bar-graph diagram derived from the same number set and values is rather like a one-dimensional fractal. Each element contains all the information contained in the entire expression, regardless of the smallness or largeness of the scale.

Figure 3

When plotted as an X-Y graph, the X-axis spiral intersects the Y-Bias at the values shown as 1 2 5 13 [etc.] on the positive axis, and 0 1 3 8 etc on the negative axis. The oscillatory part crosses at 0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 [etc.] on the positive axis. The resulting curve is the analogue of SOC structures found at virtually all scales, the magnitude and strength of which vary as a function of the extent to which the intersections approach the optimal angulature defined by the Fibonacci Series. This is not surprising, since the spiral of the curve demonstrates its logarithmic nature as it expands.
Figure 4

The form and shape of this plot is found ubiquitously in nature. It is precisely what Prigogine/Stenger’s Dissipative Structures, Bak’s rules of Self-Organizing Criticality and the Yurth/Ayers Y-Bias & Angularity Theory describe. The fact that the relationships and attributes demonstrated throughout the cosmos demonstrate adherence to the same set of simple, elegant rules, suggests that our view of ‘How Nature Works’ must be substantially modified if we are to really understand its mysteries.
The important thing to remember about this insight is that the five rules which work together to drive the continuous creation and annihilation of the cosmos, operate with absolute consistency and uniformity, at all scales, from the Zero Point to the infinite expanses of the universe. What happens to us during any avalanche event is not personal – it’s just nature doing its work.
It’s Not Personal
The news about catastrophic avalanche events is not all unpleasant. In fact, if we can step away from the deeply enculturated Judeo-Christian notion that the things we experience are somehow extrinsically imposed on us as an expression of divine judgment or punishment, it then becomes possible to assume responsibility for the parts of our life experience we can actually exercise real control over. Not everything we experience is unpleasant, damaging or risky.
The universe is always in balance, even if we are not. In terms of this conversation, this means (among other things) that risk is always complemented by reward. Injury can always be viewed in a context that reveals its complementary nature. The most important thing to realize about all of this is that nothing that happens to us without the exercise of choice is personal. It doesn’t mean anything at all. There is no hidden, intrinsic, arbitrarily imposed goodness or badness to it. Rather, in the same way and for the same reasons that self-organizing criticality operates in the universe, life is what it is.
The Way People Treat Me
The features of my father’s island were fundamentally different from my own or the ones found on my son’s island. From my vantage point, the way my grandson’s island looks is almost incomprehensible. The way we live our lives changes as the world changes. In fact, if we look at this process proactively, we soon come to realize that we do not behave as we do because of the way others treat us. Rather, one of the great lessons of life is the realization that others treat us as they do because of the way we feel. Knowing this gives us a tremendous advantage when it comes to carefully considering what we want to do with our island and its vast, virtually incalculable resources.
Think about this: [The Way People Treat Me – an Exercise]
If our assessment of the way this dynamic works is correct, changing the way we feel, taking control of how we choose to behave, can have no other effect than to fundamentally alter the way other people treat us.
Summary and Conclusions
We participate in life, either by choice or by default. We can choose, for example, to capitulate and float belly-up down the river of life, as so many of us do. We can choose to behave as victims and be certain that life will occur to us as a series of uncontrollable, relentless, extraordinarily painful events. Or, on the other hand, we can take stock of our island, become familiar with its features, accommodate the aspects we cannot change and focus our attention and energy on the ones we can exercise some discretion over.
We can learn to recognize those things that can be altered, managed or modified. We can go so far as to literally permanently remove some of the things we do not like from our island. In short, we can live in concert with nature. We can experience fulfillment, satisfaction and eventual actualization by exercising volition with increasing wisdom and personal power.
Exercise: Mapping Your Island
The purpose of this exercise is to provide you with an opportunity to recognize, take ownership and assign specific territory to the features you discovered during your previous hot air balloon journey over your island. As time goes by, you will decide to alter the landscape to suit new insights about the way your island is laid out. This is as it should be – the process is dynamic. Nature is never static at any scale, so you should be prepared to recognize what is changing on your island and be ready to reflect those changes as we go along.
Take a large piece of poster board, art paper or a long piece of butcher paper from a roll. Draw the outline of the shape of your island. If you have found photographs in magazines, on the Internet or in personal collections that help you sustain this visual image, attach them to your map so they are easy to see and refer to. I have supplied a partial list of the kinds of features typically found on the metaphorical island maps developed by others who have helped pioneer the development of this visualization process. Using whatever means are most comfortable for you, assign a specific area of your island map to the features you select from this list. You can rename them to suit your own preferences. You can add features that may have been omitted from my list. You do not need to include them all, but you may if you wish. It’s really up to you.
Journal Entries
After you have detailed the map of your island so you are satisfied that it is as complete as you can make it, take up your journal and record your observations about the process. Describe how you felt while doing it. Describe what you see when you step back and observe your map. Describe the aspects of your map you feel most strongly about, both positively and negatively. Learning to be brutally honest with yourself about what you like and do not like about these features is an important part of the process. This will help you focus on the parts of your island requiring the most time and attention.
Consider the way your map has been organized in terms of the forces acting together to give shape and meaning to your life. Here are some possible areas for introspection and examination:
* Catastrophic Avalanche Events [both good and bad] * Passages From One Stage of Life to Another * Relationships * Habits, Addictions and Preferences * Values and Mores – Religious/ Spiritual Belief Systems * Prejudices – Enculturated Values * Primary Trauma – Image Shaping Experiences * I – Self – Mind/Soul * Spiritual Journeys and Experiences
As you analyze and ponder these issues, try to discover the aspects of your life that are common to all these concepts. What binds the events together that shaped your island as it is now? Which of them are the result of choices you made, and which are not?

[1] Martin, C. “Memoirs,” unpublished private collection.
[2] Waldrop, Mitchell Complexity: The Emerging Science At The Edge of Order and Chaos (1992) Simon & Schuster, New York.
[3] Bak, P., ibid. pp 160-164. “Only fools, charlatans and liars predict earthquakes.” Richter (father of the Gutenberg-Richter Law and the Richter Scale for measuring earthquake magnitudes).v
[4] Bak, P., ibid.
[5] Wheeler, J.A., Einstein’s Vision, Springer-Verlag, 1968, page 112. See also A. Dolgov, Yu. Zel’dovdich, M. Sazhin, Cosmology of the Early universe, MGU Publ., Moscow 1988, page 200 (in Russian). See also M. Lavrent’ev et al, On Remote Action of Stars on Resistor, Doklady AN SSSR, 1990, vol 314, no 2, page 352 (in Russian). See also A. Pugach, A. Akimov, “Astronomical Observations by N. Kozyrev’s Methodology: Preliminary Results,” in the press (in Russian).
[6] Flyvbjerg, H. Sneppen, K. and Bak, P. Mean Field Theory for a Simple Model of Evolution. Physical Review Letters, 71 (1993) 4087. See also, Sheldrake, R., Seven Experiments That Could Change The World: A Do-it Yourself Guide to Revolutionary Science, Riverhead Books, Inc. NY (1995) ISBN: 1-57322-14-0.
[7] Capra, F., The Turning Point: Science, Society and the Rising Culture. Bantam/ Simon & Schuster, New York (1982).
[8] F. Capra, Turning Point, ref
[9] Wilcock, D. Personal Notes: “Consider the Nineveh Constant, discovered by NASA scientist Dr. Maurice Chatelain – where all the planets’ orbits are some form of harmonic division of a master time cycle of roughly 6.5 million years, or 70 multiplied seven times by 60 in seconds. (Vol. 3, Convergence, Divine Cosmos.) The second, as a time quantum, is a basic “beat” frequency of the universe, whose macroscopic structures are the byproduct of harmonic oscillation of the PV, creating stable fields that appear as nested, rotating spheres (i.e. the planetary orbits) with Platonic geometries that are formed by the vibrational nodes on the surface of each sphere – thus explaining many different geometric phenomena I have explored at all levels of scale. Consider Roschin and Godin’s replication of the Searl Effect and the nested magnetic spheres that were detected when it was in operation as one of many examples showing these fields at work. I also have yet-unpublished data showing these nested spheres emerging as zones of redshift variance (correlated with PV density levels by Aspden) in galaxies. It appears that the in-progress interplanetary climate change I am documenting is a byproduct of our entrance into a higher density of PV in the galaxy, causing a moment of “punctuated equilibrium.”
[10] Mandelbrot, B., Fractal Geometry of Nature, WH Freeman & Co., (August 1988) ISBN: 07 16711869.
[11] Z D Z2 + C: This formula contains the term ‘Z’ which means an angle of incidence between two interacting data sets or physical events. The symbol D depicts a real-time feedback loop in which each expression feeds information back to the other at a rate which is equal to the square of the speed of light. This interaction suggests that when until the information fed from the left side of the equation meets or exceeds a minimal quantum limit, shown in Self-organizing criticality as the function 1/ƒ, it remains bound by a nexus considered to be a zero point or ‘seed’ in fractal geometry. When the noise threshold [1/ƒ] is breached, however, the data or resulting physical phenomenon then becomes self-sustaining until the next noise threshold is reached.
[12] Weinberg, S., Dreams of a Final Theory: The Search for the Fundamental Laws of Nature, Random House, NY (1992) ISBN: 0-679-41923-3.
[13] The nature and importance of harmonic resonance in this regard is addressed in the scientific monograph entitled “Y-Bias & Angularity: Self-organizing Criticality From the Zero Point to Infinity” [Yurth/Ayres] under the sections which discuss the Fibonacci Series and its relationship to Gravitational Forces.